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Monday, December 12, 2005

Rural Women?s Award 2006 Announced -

Rural Women?s Award 2006 Announced - Steven Kons, MHA - Tasmanian Government Media Releases

Outstanding examples of innovation and skill by six Tasmanian rural women are shown in this year?s Rural Industries Research Development Corporation Rural Women?s Awards, the Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Steve Kons, said.

Mr Kons announced the winner of the Tasmanian RIRDC Rural Women?s Award for 2006 is Heather Chong.

Her prize is a bursary of $10,000 and the opportunity to attend an Australian Institute of Company Director?s Course. Ms Chong will also represent Tasmania at the National Finals in Canberra in March 2006.

Mr Kons said Ms Chong was the CEO of Qew Orchards in the Coal River Valley.

?It is less than four years since Heather and her husband Christopher moved to Tasmania and they are poised to become Tasmania?s biggest producer of apricots for the domestic and international markets.

?Heather?s project involves researching seasonal agricultural worker programs in various countries to consider addressing the labour shortages experienced in Tasmania and Australia.?

Runner up for the RIRDC Rural Women?s Award for 2006 and winner of the Development Award is Cheryl McCartie, who will be able to attend the National Rural Women?s Award Network Conference and the Australian Institute of Company Director?s Course in Canberra in March 2006.

Mr Kons said Ms McCartie is a partner in a dairy farming business with her husband Theo at Ringarooma.

?She has a strong belief in sustainable farming systems and balancing this with quality of lifestyle within a farm family environment.

?Cheryl is an executive member of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture among a number of other board and committee commitments.

?Her project involves researching once-a-day milking systems as a strategy to improve farm productivity, sustainability, profitability and lifestyle.?

Mr Kons said the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women?s Award was in its seventh year of recognising and encouraging the vital contribution that women make to rural Australia.

?Over time the Award has attracted applications from a significant number of Tasmanian rural women showcasing outstanding examples of skills and innovation across a diverse range of projects,? Mr Kons said.

?This has continued this year, with our judges highlighting the excellent proposals from our six finalists.?

The finalists were Anne Ashbolt, Allison Clark, Cheryl McCartie, Annette Reed, Heather Chong and Elizabeth Mann.

RIRDC is the major sponsor of the award with other sponsors being The Australian Women?s Weekly, Rural Press and ABC Local Radio. In Tasmania, the Award is supported by the Tasmanian Government and coordinated by DPIWE.

For further queries contact Caroline Brown on 03 63365383 or 0400 927 989 or caroline.brown@dpiwe.tas.gov.au

This initiative/program is part of the State Government?s commitment to progressing Tasmania Together Goal 19: Have an internationally focused business culture that creates business investment and growth and encourages enterprise, innovation and excellence.


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